The Most Significant IT Executive Moves Of 2012 (So Far)4:00 PM EST Tue. Jul. 17, 2012
The first half of 2012 was flush with major executive changes at the biggest tech companies, including a number of channel chief exits and C-suite-level moves. Here's a look at some of the most significant from January through early July.
Will 2012 be remembered as the year RIM entered its death spiral or the year when it turned things around? Given the company's string of missteps, it seems increasingly like the former, but it does have new management in place in attempt to right things. In January, in what's still been the most significant IT executive move of the year thus far, RIM named Thorsten Heins, its former co-COO, to the top spot, replacing co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie (left and right, respectively).
Scott Thompson's tenure as CEO of troubled Yahoo ended almost as soon as it began. In January, Thompson was tapped to succeed former CEO Carol Bartz, who'd been fired four months earlier. But less than five months later, an investigation into embellishments on his resume -- spurred by an activist investor -- stuck Yahoo with yet another public relations disaster.
As CRN was going to press, Yahoo named longtime Google executive Marissa Mayer to succeed Thompson -- a substantial coup for the struggling search purveyor given Mayer's popularity in Silicon Valley.
It was stunning news for the king of big-box tech retail: Brian Dunn resigned as CEO of Best Buy in April. Best Buy originally described the exit as a "mutual decision" without too many details, but reports soon surfaced that Dunn was being investigated for alleged personal misconduct.
In the round-and-round carousel of 2012 executive changes, perhaps no tier-one tech company has been more mucked-about with than HP, which in the still-nascent Meg Whitman era has parted ways with longtime executives while promoting others and bringing in fresh blood. The biggest HP move thus far was the promotion of Bill Veghte, who in May moved from chief strategy officer to COO.
The ongoing executive changes under HP CEO Meg Whitman have claimed a few other well-known casualties. One was Vyomesh Joshi, a 31-year veteran of HP and former executive vice president of its Imaging and Printing Group (IPG), who HP confirmed would step aside once the merging of IPG and HP's old Personal Systems Group was completed.
HP's executive makeover extended well into its channel and technology ranks. Among other moves this past winter and spring: the exit of former Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch, along with several of his lieutenants; the departures of well-known channel executives Frank Rauch (left) and Meaghan Kelly, now, respectively, at VMware and SAP; the channel leadership change-ups in HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group (PPS), including new roles for Mike Parrottino and Scott Dunsire; and myriad moves in HP Networking, including the promotion of Kevin Hooper and the exit of Armughan Ahmad.
Like HP, Cisco is also in the midst of an ongoing wave of executive changes, following a year's worth of top talent departures from the company. The biggest move made at Cisco yet in 2012 is the promotion of Padmasree Warrior (left) to Cisco's chief strategy and technology officer. Warrior's new role moved her out of running Cisco's engineering organization, now solely led by Pankaj Patel.
Padmasree Warrior's move to the chief strategy officer seat came following word that Ned Hooper, Cisco's chief strategist and M&A chief, would leave Cisco to start an investment partnership. Hooper, a 13-year Cisco veteran, "pioneered the model for large-scale M&A at Cisco," according to CEO John Chambers, and spearheaded major Cisco acquisitions such as Tandberg, WebEx, Airespace, Starent and, most recently, the NDS Group. Hooper also managed Cisco's $2 billion investment portfolio.
An ugly departure from Oracle: Keith Block, the software giant's former executive vice president, North America sales operations, left the company following a firestorm over messages Block is alleged to have sent that were critical of Oracle's management team, particularly regarding Oracle's $7.3 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems and moves made by Oracle Co-President Mark Hurd.
Why was the announcement that longtime Cisco channel chief Keith Goodwin (left) would retire at the end of July so significant? Well, channel chiefs typically aren't in the role half as long as Goodwin's seven years spent as senior vice president, worldwide partner organization, and Cisco's not exactly a small fry in the channel. Goodwin, who partners agreed helped make Cisco even more of a channel company, is handing the reins to Bruce Klein, currently senior vice president, U.S. public sector, and already highly regarded by many Cisco partners.
In January came a changing of the guard at the world's most visible IT distributor. Greg Spierkel (left in photo), CEO of Ingram Micro since 2005, stepped down and was replaced by Alain Monie (right in photo), who had returned to Ingram Micro as president and COO in November 2011.
Given Apple's value, popularity and visibility as a tech company, any major executive change is an event. And so there was plenty of press when Apple confirmed that Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of hardware engineering and a driving force behind the Mac, iPhone and iPad, would be retiring. Mansfield has been at Apple since 1999, in charge of Mac engineering since 2005 and iPad engineering from the product's inception.
Call it the incredibly shrinking HP webOS team: a collection of engineers and other executives who came over to HP when it bought Palm in 2010 and have quietly -- and not so quietly -- left or been pushed out of the company. Chief among the webOS exits was Jon Rubinstein, a renowned engineer who was the "father" of Apple's iPod, close confidant of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and former Palm CEO, who left HP in late January.
When Ginni Rometty became CEO of IBM at the beginning of the year, she wasted little time tweaking Big Blue's management team. One move was to install Mark Hennessy (right in photo), a 30-year IBM veteran as channel chief, and shift Rich Hume, IBM's then-general manager of IBM global business partners, to run IBM's European operations out of Madrid. In a recent interview with CRN, Hennessy said he'll continue to push IBM partners toward solution-based sales.
Channel chiefs aplenty have exited or moved to other roles in 2012, and that was the case at Symantec, whose former channel chief, Randy Cochran (left), resigned in March and was replaced by John Eldh, who'd most recently been vice president of sales for Symantec's cloud business unit and is a seven-year Symantec veteran.
Panasonic has to make some not-so-comfortable changes to turn around its flagging financials, and the man who'll be making them is Kazuhiro Tsuga, named president in late February following a stint as senior managing director and president of Panasonic A/V products. With Panasonic's losses well into the billions as of this past spring, Tsuga has his work cut for him.
Dell's been in the headlines this year for an aggressive string of acquisitions that saw it scoop up, among other companies, SonicWall, Clerity and Quest Software. It's also been bolstering its executive team and in February brought on John Swainson, the former CEO of CA Technologies, to run its new software group.
McAfee was another well-known channel company with a changing of the channel chief guard: Gavin Struthers (right in photo) replaced Alex Thurber (left in photo) as senior vice president, worldwide channels, in early January.
Who's running Huawei? Better see what month it is. Huawei in April said it would institute a system of rotating CEOs, with different executives running the company for six months at a time. "Huawei hasn't found a way to adapt well to a rapidly changing society," wrote CEO Ren Zhengfei (left) in a corporate blog post at the time. "Time will tell if the rotating CEO system is the right move or not."
Major executives from D-Link's North America team started leaving the company last fall, and the exodus continued into the new year, with some of the best-known names landing new gigs both in and out of the channel. Nick Tidd (left), former D-Link North America president, is now senior vice president of global sales at Condusiv Technologies, for example, while former U.S. enterprise and channel chief Pat Piwowarczyk is now director, operations, go-to-market business capabilities, at Cisco.
In what was by that time an expected move, Sanjay Jha (left), the former co-CEO of Motorola and then CEO of Motorola Mobility, resigned from the company following the completion of its $12.5 million acquisition by Google. Google confirmed that Dennis Woodside, former president, Google Americas, would be the new head of the company.
Vivek Kundra (left) and Aneesh Chopra both came into Obama administration roles -- respectively the country's first federal CIO and federal CTO -- with much fanfare. But as of this spring, both have gone on to other things: Kundra, who left the CIO post last summer, is now an executive vice president at Salesforce.com, and Chopra was confirmed to be leaving in January. Todd Park, most recently CTO for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), was confirmed as Chopra's successor in March, while Kundra was replaced in August 2011 by former Microsoft executive Steven VanRoekel.
It's been a rough-and-tumble year for Logitech, which in June said it would cut 13 percent of its global workforce amid a restructuring aimed at turning around several brutal quarters. Both Logitech and its videoconferencing division, LifeSize Communications, have seen changes in the C-suite since the beginning of the year. Logitech named Bracken Darrell (left) its new president, on a path to succeed Guerrino De Luca as CEO in 2013, while LifeSize co-founder and former CEO Craig Malloy stepped down in January and was succeeded by Colin Buechler.
Count Avaya as another major channel company that's seen an abnormally large amount of executive turnover in the past few months. Through Avaya's "out" door went Stephen J. Gold (left), former senior vice president and CIO; Alan Baratz, former senior vice president, corporate development and strategy; Mohamad Ali, former senior vice president and president, Avaya client services; Daniel Berg, former vice president, research and development; and Jeremy Butt, former vice president, global channels, among many others. Through Avaya's "in" door came Marc Randall, senior vice president and general manager, Avaya networking; Michael Runda, senior vice president and president, Avaya client services; Pierre-Paul Allard, senior vice president, corporate strategy and development; and most recently, Mark Wilson, CMO.
Arrow S3, the networking integrator unit of Arrow Electronics, was formed in October 2011 from Shared Technologies and Cross Telecom, the two Avaya-centric solution providers Arrow had recently acquired. Leadership of the unit has changed hands several times since, with Mark McGrath, the former Insight North America president, succeeding Glenn Means as president of Arrow S3 in February. McGrath was gone from Arrow S3 not six weeks later, however, following his appointment as president of PC Mall. Into the Arrow S3 president slot stepped Mike Cox (left), the former Logicalis CEO, HP executive and onetime CRN VAR500 Executive of the Year.
Several of the country's largest solution providers have changed top executives this year, most notably Logicalis, which named Vince DeLuca (left) its new U.S. CEO in late June. DeLuca, who replaced 10-year Logicalis veteran Terry Flood, told CRN he'll look to steer Logicalis toward more of a solution-based focus with a much bigger services mix as it evolves into a cloud and managed services player.
In one of the more visible channel M&A deals of the year, Presidio Networked Solutions acquired BlueWater Communications, adding to Presidio's stature as a networking and data center powerhouse. Bob Cagnazzi, well-known for his years at Dimension Data and then as CEO of BlueWater, became CEO of Presidio as a result of the deal.
ShoreTel is another vendor changing up its management ranks and in the past few months it added David Pettis, now senior vice president, worldwide sales, and brought back Joe Vitalone as vice president, channel management. It also named Tim Gaines vice president, North America sales and Mark Arman vice president of international sales and worldwide distribution, while bidding adieu to Don Girskis (left), who resigned as senior vice president, worldwide sales in the spring.
Brocade is another major infrastructure vendor with a new channel chief: Regan McGrath (left) replaced Barbara Spicek in the role in May. McGrath is hardly a new face at Brocade -- he's been there since 2000 and was most recently Brocade's vice president, America sales. His role is different from Spicek's in that he has both channel sales and channel enablement programs under his command.
Virtual wireless networking specialist Meru Networks has been adding to its executive team in the past year, and in March confirmed a new CEO, Bami Bastani (left), to succeed former CEO Ihab Abu-Hakima. Bastani, who came to Meru following Trident Microsystems, where he'd been president and CEO, has his work cut out for him at Meru, which took in growth capital debt financing in June and has seen some challenging quarters of late.